A READY PATH-WAY
TO LEAD TO
Written and Publiſhed
For the Benefit of all true Chriſtians.
Mr. LAURENCE PRICE.
Printed and ſold by C, Randall.
DEAR and beloved Chriſtians, I would have you this much to underſtand, ⟨that⟩ all thoſe that have a deſire to go to heaven, muſt well and wiſely endeavour ⟨themſelves⟩ to follow this path way.
Firſt, Thou muſt firſt remember, that ⟨our⟩ bleſſed Saviour ſays, "I am the door: by me it any man enter in he ſhall be ſaved: and ſhall in and out and find paſture, John x 9. Again he ſays, "Knock; and it ſhall be opened to you. To him that knocketh, it ſhall be opened, Matth. vii. 7, 8. Now, you ſee there is no way of getting into heaven but by Jeſus Chriſt the Saviour, who is the way, the truth, and the life. The Breaker who has gone to heaven as our Fore-runner, after he had offered himſelf a ſacrifice to the law and Juſtice of God for our iniquity.
Therefore all who profeſs to believe in him or rightouſneſs and ſtrength, and as all their ſalvation and all their deſire, will find him the true Key to open heaven's gate: But in going to the gate of heaven, you muſt obtſrve the following regulations which the King of heaven hath laid down for all thoſe who will to enter this celeſtial gate.
Firſt, Thou muſt truly and unfeignedly labour to ſerve God, and to obey his conmandments; which is a duty that ought to be done without delay: For he that is alive to-day, may be dead before to-norrow; and it will be too late to look after a way at death that you have never ſought after in time of health and ſtrength. 'Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forſake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, who will have mercy, and to our God who will abundantly pardon. For he is a God of truth, juſtice, peace mercy and love, and willeth not that any ſhould periſh but that they ſhould repent and return unto him, that they may obtain everlaſting life.
Secondly There is another duty to be performed by all that would find the ready way to heaven: You muſt love your Chriſtian brethren and neighbours, and cherish and comfort them; and not ſlight, wrangle, ſcold, fight, and go to law, until you have ruined them: For they that do ſuch things, are gone far out of the way to heaven Remember therefore what our Saviour Chriſt ſaith in the Goſpel; A new commandment give I unto you: ſee that you love one another.' For if ye love not your neighbour, whom you ſee every day, how can you love God whoin you never ſaw? Therefore confider, and take heed in time what you do; he that hateth his neighbour, hateth his brother and he that hateth his brother hateth God; and he that hateth God, will never find the way to heaven. Therefore let all then that are called by the name of Chriſtians, ſhew themſelves like Chriſtians, laying aſide all hatred, ſpite, envy, malice, lying, ſlander, backbiting, hypocriſy and diſſimulation, and withal to break ſuch bread as you would have broken; and likewiſe to do unto all men as you would they ſhould do unto you. This to be ſure is the neareſt way to heaven. but more than this is to be done, before ye come to your journey's end. You muſt repent of all your former iniquities; you muſt do good to them that have done evil to you; and you muſt forgive them their treſpaſſes, as you look to be forgiven at the hand of God. And ſo far muſt your minds and hearts be given to quietneſs that you muſt not ſo much as let the sun go down upon your wrath: "For vengeance is mine, ſaith the Lord, and I will repay it."
Thirdly, Every Chriſtian ought at all times both early and late, to pray unto the Lord, that he will add a bleſſing to their endeavours; and the better to be employed, let them follow after God's preachers, and hear them preach and teach, that are both able and willing to declare the word of God unto them and ſo by degrees they fall find the mercieof the Lord redoubled unto them and thereby they ſhall be brought to ripeneſs of underſtanding, whereby to know and diftinguiſh between good and bad, which may be a great furtherance to them in their way to heaven. True knowledge is of ſuch excellent virtue, that it is ſufficient to bring us acquainted with the principle things that are to be had in this life; and after this life is ended it fall bring our ſouls into everlaſting happineſs. True knowledge makes, you underſtand, that God the Father created us; that God the Son redeemed us, and that God the Holy Ghoft ſanctifieth us, and presſerveth all thoſe that truly believe that Jeſus Chrift ſuſſered death upon the croſs, to ſave our ſouls from the tyranny of the devil, and from the torments of hell; as you may read in Matth. xiii where it is ſaid, 'Bleſſed are your eyes, for they ſee; and your ears for they hear; and your hearts, for they underſtand.' And to be brief, true knowledge and underſtanding may very well be termed, 'A Key to open the gates of heaven' Then, what man or woman will be ſo wilfully blind, as to neglect the ſeeking after ſuch an excellent virtue? Yet there are ſome, and too many in theſe ſinful and wicked times, that are ſo careleſs and regardleſs, that they had rather chuſe to follow the vain delights and pleaſures of this wicked world than to look for the redemption of their ſouls and the joys of heaven hereafter, which Our Saviour Chriſt purchaſed with his moſt precious blood. Some there are likewiſe, that bear a ſhow Of Godlineſs, and yet they cannot ſpare one hour in the way to hear a good ſermon, or to ſerve God in. Others there are, that do utterly deny, and as it were, make a ſcoff ofthe Scriptures of truth: But I wiſh that all ſuch perſons would conſider, that at the laſt, it will be ſaid to ſuch 'Behold, ye deſpiſers! wonder and periſh! Jeſus Chrift the righteous Judge of all the world, ſhall ſay unto then, Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity: For if you believe not Moſes and the prophets, neither will ye believe though one roſe from the dead.'
And now, beloved Chriſtians I would have you to conſider and think on this, that the day of judgment is near at hand, and every ſoul ſhall ſtand at the bar of arraignment, before the righteous Judge, and to render up an account of all their deeds actions, good and evil; and then ſhall the good beſevered from the bad; and the good, with joy and triumph, be received into everlaſting happineſs; and the wicked be caſt into utter darkneſs, where nothing elſe is to be heard or ſeen, but weeping, howling, and gnaſhing of teeth. Moreover, I would have you conſider, that at the general judgment, there are none to be exempted or excuſed from coming to this bar; and every one ſhall be forced to appear in their perſons: the rich and the poor, the king and the beggar, the ſtrong and the weak the bound and the free, all must come, whether they will or not; for God hath no reſpect of perſons: And at that great and notable day of the Lord our God, there is no delays to be made. There ſhall be no lawyers to plead for you for every one ſhall have work envugh of his own to do; neither ſhall there be any bribes accepted of: Therefore prepare for that awful day, that the wrath of the Judge may be prevented while you may and provoke not God to anger, leſt your ſouls periſh in his diſpleaſure.
And for your further inſtructions I would wiſh you all to be well adviſed, and to follow the doctrine and counſel of the apoſtle ⟨Paul⟩ 'Put on the breaſt plate of righteouſneſ and have your feet ſhod with the preparation of the goſpel of peace: taking up the ſhield of faith, and the helmet of ſalvation.' And being thus armed, you need not fear all the enemies that ever can aſſault, or come ⟨against⟩ you, as you may read in Eph, vi. 14. 15. 16. How to come by this armour, and how uſe it, you muſt learn that of your ⟨Captain⟩ the Leader Jeſus Chriſt, who ſuffered ⟨many⟩ perſecutions when he was upon earth; ſuch as hunger, cold, baniſhment, ſcorning and taunts, whipping and buffering, ſpitting o(illegible text) the face, and at laſt nailed to the croſs and to the heart with a bloody, ſpear: In all which a fictions he was never ſeen to look on his enemies with a frowning brow, nor to give them an angry word: And when he was crucified, he took all things patiently and prayed for his enemies ſaying Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' And with his laſt breath he cried, 'Father into thy hands I commend my ſpirit.'
Thus was our Saviour, Jelus Chriſt, made a ſuſſerer for your ſake, and all theſe torments did he undergo while he was on earth, to each us the way to heaven; and this hath he purchaſed with his moſt, dear and precious blood, to ſave us from the torments of hell. And after that Chriſt had ſuffered the ſharpneſs of death he aroſe from the dead, and decended into heaven, where he continues make interceſſion for tranſgreſſors, at his Father's right hand, till all his people are brought to heaven. Therefore, to conclude, once more intreat you all never to leave off practiſing theſe holy duties which I have ſet before you, that you may find the way to heaven. For bleſſed are they, only, who conticue ſtedfast to the end. Amen.
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